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Selectmen Endorse Construction of New Tennis Courts

If approved by Town Meeting voters, project would be paid for from Community Preservation Fund.

The Board of Selectmen and the Community Preservation Committee have both endorsed a plan to build a five-court tennis complex on the campus of the

The project would cost an estimated $375,000, according to Barry Lewin, president of Friends of Tewksbury Tennis, and would be paid for with Community Preservation Funds.

"The CPC met on July 9 and voted to fully fund all five courts," Lewin told the selectmen . "It's all CPC funds, so it will have no impact on the taxpayers.

The project is a scaled down version of a plan presented as part of the $1.9 million expanded stadium proposal, That plan included six courts, as well as lighting for night activities. The new plan removes one of the courts and includes no lights, in deference to concerns voiced by abutters, said Lewin.

The five-court proposal also has the support of , who will be drafting the warrant article for the Special Town Meeting in October.

Lewin told selectmen that the courts are desperately needed in Tewksbury, both as a community resource and to continue the growth of the tennis program at Tewksbury High. Presently, the only public tennis facilities in town are three courts at the

"The participation in tennis has exploded in town in recent years," said Lewin. "The youth programs in the summer are filled every year. On nice weekends there is a wait (to use) the courts on Livingston Street. And the (high school) tennis team has doubled in size in the last five years."

This spring, the .

Lewin also quoted figures, showing that Tewksbury's tennis facilities lag far behind those of neighboring communities. According to information supplied by Lewin, Wilmington has 16 public courts, Billerica has 14, Lowell has 30, Chelmsford has 18, Methuen has 13 and Andover has 14.

"We have just three. Clearly we need the help," he said.

According to the plan, the courts would be build adjacent , where the temporary parking lot now sits. It would be maintained by the School Department.

Lewin said he has been told by TMHS Athletic Director Brian Hickey that the constriction of the new courts would allow tennis to be added to the physical education program and for the addition of the boys varsity team.

"Everyone in the town will benefit," said Lewin.

Selectmen Scott Wilson and Ann-Marie Stronach agreed that the additional courts are needed in Tewksbury and thanked the Friends of Tewksbury Tennis for their persistence in supporting the project.

said he fully supported the project using Community Preservation funds but also brought up the need to find money in a future budget to improve the existing courts on Livingston Street.

The board voted unanimously to endorse the project.

SD From T-Bury July 19, 2012 at 01:42 PM
I remember some discussion of a rail trail. I wonder what ever happened to that. I'd love to have something like that in town.
Shaun July 19, 2012 at 02:23 PM
SD, I wouldn't hold your breathe. I think the overall thought is that there is not a stretch of abandoned rail that is really a good use for a rail trail. The two rails that could be used don't really head anywhere and are pretty short in distance. I think the cost to setup and maintain it was deemed unproportional.
SD From T-Bury July 19, 2012 at 02:32 PM
I figured as much, Shaun. There used to be some great abandoned trackage in town back when I was a kid in the 70's and 80's, including a branch that ran behind the Foster School and I think went most of the way through town. I remember walking those tracks in the early 80's and seeing RR equipment from the 1800's (I'm somewhat of a railfan). To my knowledge, those tracks are gone now, replaced by the Archstone complex and other development. I don't think (and don't hope) PanAm (Guilford) is going to abandon their trackage, so that's out. Ah well....
Dave July 19, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Yeah, they'll start charging fees just like Livingston St Park and using tax payer money to maintain it ! They' ll have to keep a legal accounting system for the cash collected.
Karyn July 19, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Upon researching further, I wanted to make a couple of edits to my above two posts for clarification. quote: "As far as the "new" use re. the tennis courts (recreation)....that legislation was just recently passed to add that facet to the guidelines when it meets certain criteria." In actuality this recreational use has always been allowed under the existing CPA guidelines: "the creation of a new recreational use".....ie. the tennis courts. The new legislation recently passed has to do with the "restoration of existing facilities on land owned or bought by the Town." As for Open Space....that left in Town for the most part is either State Land or privately owned. Again, the CPC does not go out and seek this type of thing and to date they have not been approached by any private land owner. quote: "FYI, there was a parcel of open space privately owned land that the CPC was attempting to purchase at one point but the asking price was too high." To this statement I would add..... "and exceeded the appraised value of the land" which is a CPA ruling. Hope this further clarifies the issue.

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